S.F. minimum wage amendments effective today

San Francisco Living Wage Coalition Co-director Robert Bustamonte stood on the steps of City Hall in the autumn sunshine today and declared, “it's time for a living wage!''

Today marks the day that amendments to the Minimum Compensation Ordinance go into effect, Bustamonte said. The amendments, which increase wages for non-profit workers, home health care aides, and workers in welfare-to-work programs, were passed by the board of supervisors on Sept. 11 and signed into law by Mayor Gavin Newsom on Sept. 14.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano, whose office sponsored the amendments, said he was “happy to announce this very, very important first step,'' in the fight for reasonable wages for workers.

“There should never have to be a choice between paying your rent and paying for a prescription for a sick child,'' Ammiano said.

The increase will affect 15,000 workers living in the city of San Francisco who earn wages that cannot support their basic needs.

Jane Morrison, who works with the San Francisco Democratic Party said it is irresponsible that people who “work full time do not have enough money for food, housing and healthcare.''

Morrison added that the city should continue to raise the living wage so that people who are helping others can support their own families.

Not only will wages increase now for non-profit workers, but the annual cost-of-living will be adjusted in conjunction with the consumer price index, Bustamonte said. This will ensure that workers are never again left behind, he added.

The minimum wage for home health care workers rose to $11.50 with the amendments that went into effect today. The minimum wage was previously $9, which is lower than other city workers, Bustamonte said.

Karl Kramer, co-director of the Living Wage Coalition, emphasized the impact that higher wages will have in “reducing turn over in non-profit agencies.'' He said that workers who retain their positions longer are more competent and therefore more likely to improve the quality of their care and services.

The minimum wage ordinance covers workers for businesses or non-profit agencies that contract with the city, and those who work at San Francisco International Airport.

— Bay City News

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